The first Bank of Japan was a short distance from where the present building is in the Nihonbashi district of Tokyo. The original bank had 55 employees. The building was modeled supposedly on the National Bank of Belgium.
The BOJ moved to its present location in 1896. It was in this area that Kinza, a mint for koban gold coins, was located in the Edo Period. Nearby Ginza was the early mint for silver coins. The architect of the Former Main Building of the Bank of Japan, the oldest part of the Old Building, was Kingo Tatsuno (1854-1919), who also designed nearby Tokyo Station. Tatsuno had previously toured Europe and America to observe and study western styles of public buildings.
The Old Building had Japan’s second oldest elevator, cast-iron stairs imported from Britain, watering stations for horses and lovely chandeliers. The Old Main Building is now registered as an Important Cultural Property of Japan.
Nowadays the BOJ consists of 3 buildings: the 10-storey New Building, built in 1973, where present-day banking activities take place, the historic Old Building (see above) and the Annex Building, which holds the Currency Museum (9.30 a.m.-4.30 p.m., closed Mondays) built around the core collection of numismatist Keibun Tanaka (1884-1956), containing coins and notes from Japan and other nations.
The Bank of Japan has a branch in Osaka with the Old Building located in Nakanoshima as well as other branches in Nagoya, Hiroshima and Kyoto.
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